Module Identifier IP34720  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Dr Jennifer G Mathers  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Ms Carla Barquiero  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   8 Hours (8 x 1 hour)  
  Lecture   14 Hours (14 x 1 hour)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  60%
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 2,500 words  40%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this module students should be able to:

- Discuss the changing role which the Communist Party played in politics
- Compare the Leninist and Stalinist political systems
- Assess the significance of Stalin''''s influence on the development of politics in the Soviet Union
- Outline successive attempts to reform the Soviet political system
- Assess Gorbachev''''s contribution to Soviet politics
- Compare Russia?s political system with its Soviet predecessor

Brief description

This module provides an historical overview of the changing nature of politics in Russia, from the October Revolution in 1917 to the popularly-elected governments of the post-Soviet period.


The aim of this module is to examine the development of the politics in the Soviet Union and Russia after the death of Stalin in 1953.


The module will begin by considering the main components of the Soviet political system at the time of Stalin's death in 1953. Attention will then turn to the attempts by Khrushchev to `de-Stalinise' the soviet Union and to the backlash it provoked on the part of Brezhnev and his colleagues who sought to introduce stability in Soviet political life. Students will examine the pressures which developed during the `period of stagnation' and consider the components of Gorbachev's policy of perestroika. The events which led to the end of Communist Party rule and the collapse of the USSR will be considered. Students will evaluate the new political institutions and processes which have been introduced since the end of 1991 as well as considering the impact of the different leadership styles of Russia?s post-Soviet presidents. By the end of the module students should be able to compare the Soviet and Russian political systems and identify the major political issues facing Russia.

Transferable skills

Students taking this module will have the opportunity to develop and practice a wide range of transferable skills. In lectures students will develop listening and notetaking skills. In preparation for seminars students will develop their reading, notetaking and analytical skills. Seminar discussions will help students to develop their listening, explaining and debating skills, as well as team work and problem solving. The essay which the students will write will encourage them to develop their independent research, writing and IT skills. The examination will test students' analytical and writing skills under time constraints.

10 ECTS credits

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Nove, Alec Stalinism and After (3rd Edition)
Tompson, William Khrushchev: A Political Life
Hill, Ronald J. & Frank, Peter The Soviet Communist Party
Sakwa, Richard Russian Politics and Society
Archie Brown The Gorbachev Factor
Martin McCauley The Soviet Union 1917-1991


This module is at CQFW Level 6